The Countess of Wessex visited ZSL London Zoo to tour its newest exhibit, Monkey Valley, where she also joined in with some Christmas celebrations with local childre
Guided by ZSL Director General Matthew Gould and ZSL President Professor Sir Jim Smith, The Countess of Wessex explored the recently restored Grade II listed Snowdon Aviary, now home to a lively troop of 10 eastern black and white colobus monkeys as part of the Zoo’s new Monkey Valley exhibit.
During the visit, Her Royal Highness was briefed on the range of work done by ZSL (the Zoological Society of London), the international conservation charity behind the zoo.
The Countess then joined children who receive support from the Kaleidoscope Palliative Care and Community Children’s Nursing teams as they got crafty creating festive-themed activities for the Zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs; filling brightly wrapped boxes with sweet potato snacks for the stripy-tailed primates to forage for amongst the trees of their In with the Lemurs home - and weaving tasty edible Christmas wreaths from leaves sourced by the Zoo’s horticulture team.
The seasonal activities took place as part of ZSL’s Community Access Scheme, which brings more people closer to wildlife by providing discounted or free access to the Zoo for people with additional needs or disabilities, low-income households and people over 60 at risk of isolation.
Her Royal Highness then entered Rainforest Life, London’s only living rainforest, home to tree anteaters, two-toed sloths and red titi monkeys, where she was joined by children from St Mary’s Bryanston Square Church of England Primary School – visiting as part of ZSL’s Education Access Scheme, which enables schools in Camden and Westminster to take regular educational trips to London Zoo.
The Countess also met ZSL zookeepers who care for more than 14,000 animals at the conservation zoo, as well as ZSL’s Counter Trafficking Officer Grant Miller, and Fabrice Inkonkoy, a Forestry Technical Expert from ZSL’s Sustainable Business and Finance Team.